Monday, December 14, 2015

Meatless Monday: Back to the Basics

We overdid it a bit when picking apples early in October. By late November the Galas, Ida Reds, and Mutsus were still doing well, but the Macouns and Fujis were starting to get a little soft. I decided to make some applesauce, and my timing couldn’t have been better.

We had a little one with us for a week over Thanksgiving. She was just beginning to explore the world of food.

Her day began with a tiny bowl of oatmeal. On the first morning of the visit I asked her parents' permission and introduced a spoonful of my sauce after her oatmeal was gone. After the first taste she smacked her lips and smiled.

She got applesauce every morning that week. Her eyes lit up when she saw the dish of applesauce, and she flapped her arms in anticipation of a tasty bite.

What a great thing! I had prevented some potential food waste and made myself the apple of my granddaughter’s eye in just a few easy, and I do mean easy, steps. 

There are some kitchen devices meant to streamline the process, but all you really need is a paring knife, a cutting board, a heavy-duty pot, and, of course, some apples. Even in this busy holiday season, you have time for this DIY. After all, who doesn’t love applesauce? 

Here is my recipe.

Nonna’s Applesauce
  • Check your fridge for any apples starting to lose their crispness; the large ones seem to go first. 
  • Go for a mix of varieties if possible. [My friend Polly suggests using at least 3 varieties; I had 5 and it certainly worked for me!]
  • Peel, quarter, and remove the cores of the apples.
  • Cut each quarter into smaller pieces (halves or quarters depending on the apple’s size).
  • Put the apple pieces into an ample-sized pot or saucepan.
  • Add a tablespoon or two of water.
  • Cover the pot with a lid.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer gently until the apples are fork tender.
  • Mash or blend to your desired consistency. [I use a potato masher and opt for chunky style.]
  • No added sugar is necessary.

I made the batch in the photo this morning. It tasted great atop a bowl of plain Greek yogurt, and I expect it will be gone in no time. 

Happy Meatless Monday. Have a great week!

On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Saturday Shorts 12.12.15: Reflections on COP21

One of the messages carried to COP 21, the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, by Professor Dan Esty of Yale is that EVERYONE is part of the solution to climate disruption. His particular mission at COP was to engage the governors and mayors in attendance — the leaders at levels below “heads of state” — who can more easily implement change.

In this post I urge the rest of us to engage as well. COP is heading toward a close. According to the BBC, a “final draft” has been reached. Whatever commitments are finally made, we must all take action. 

We may not be COP 21 delegates, or hold the wealth of Bill Gates and the other 27 investors who created The Breakthrough Energy Coalitionbut each of us can play a part in helping to save our planet.

Here a just a few ideas:

Use less energy in our homes
  • Switch to better lightbulbs
  • Invest in energy-efficient appliances
  • Insulate our attics
  • Caulk leaky windows
  • Turn down our thermostats

Use less energy when we travel
  • Walk more
  • Use alternative transportation
  • Pool our trips when we drive
  • Pay a carbon offset when we fly

… and in this season of excess
  • Shop carefully 
  • Honor a loved one with a gift to a charitable organization instead of a tsotchke
  • WASTE LESS. This includes making good use of our leftovers as former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis so passionately does. Read the whole story here.

For more ideas, check out a series of posts “Joining Hands for a Better World” I ambitiously wrote 2 years ago as I “counted down to Christmas.” Here is the link to Day 1. The other posts in the series are listed in the green box to the right.

The message is true now more than ever. “Tous ensemble” (all together) we can make a difference!